ACTING for ANIMATORS
Animation Show of Shows Kickstarter
Please support short-form animation. Ron Diamond, CEO of Animation Show of Shows, has gone non-profit. His company now is an IRS-approved 501(C)(3) non-profit, which qualifies it for tax-deductible contributions. This is a worthwhile place to commit a donation, and Ron has set up a Kickstarter campaign. I encourage you to support him and to share the link. Spread the word! You will be helping distribution, exhibition and preservation of short-form animation. https://www.kickstarter.com/…/1…/the-animation-show-of-shows
"Man -- let me offer you a definition -- is the storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker buoys and trail signs of stories. He has to keep on making them up. As long as there's a story, it's all right. Even in his last moments, it's said, in the split second of a fatal fall -- or when he's about to drown -- he sees, passing rapidly before him, the story of his whole life."Graham Smith, Waterland
Welcome Change Productions
Alice Elliott has been my dear personal friend for almost 50 years, and I would like to introduce you to her. She is an accomplished New York City-based actor and teacher (NYU Tisch School of the Arts) as well as an Academy Award-nominated documentary director. Her Welcome Change Productions is unique and invaluable because of its exclusive focus on promoting the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities. For all these many years, she has put her money where her mouth is, and I admire her more than I can express. Please check out her company, and support Alice's work.
Acting for Animators Workshop Schedule
July 11-13 Technicolor, Bangalore India
Sept 5-6, Animex Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Oct 7-10 BIAF, West Java, Indonesia
Oct 26-30 KuanDu Int'l Animated Film Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
Pixar's Inside Out
The best thing about the release of Pixar's Inside Out is that it has triggered so much excited discussion in the animation industry. I have thoroughly enjoyed my e-mail conversations about the film with friends and associates, especially when we disagree about the merits. Once I have obtained a copy of the film and have the opportunity to properly study the acting in it, I will prepare a sequence-by-sequence analysis for you; but, until then, all of us must be content with the spectacle and hoopla of it all.
My initial impression, having seen the film only once so far, is that Inside Out is probably the intellectually smartest film Pixar has produced to date. That attribute is also its most obvious liability because, as was the case with director Pete Docter's previous film, Up, the story does not match up with an "entire family" audience. The fact is that 11-year-old Riley, the human character at the center of Inside Out, would probably not understand the movie she is starring in if she were able to sit in an audience and watch it. At the screening I attended, kids her age were clearly bored.
It is worth noting that Walt Disney made movies for kids and then charmed adults into seeing them on the grounds that "there is a kid in all of us." Pete Docter is reversing that formula with Up and Inside Out, speaking to adults while inviting the kids to tag along. If asked, Docter will surely say his are "movies for the entire family," but the psychology involved is wholly different from what Walt Disney had in mind. The first half of Up was for adults, and the second half, in Paradise Valley with the talking dogs, was for kids. Inside Out is for adults pure and simple, and kids in the audience are left to fend for themselves with the cute and colorful animated characters. Further, Walt Disney made movies for middle-class Americans; Pete Docter is making movies for what used to be known as Yuppies -- upper income, professional, university-educated adults with school-aged children -- and he keeps a keen eye on the overseas markets, particularly China.
And speaking of China, Inside Out will likely fade quickly over there, after the initial "Hooray, another Pixar movie!" euphoria wears off. English does not translate easily into Mandarin (I know first-hand because I teach in China), and this movie's dialogue-heavy script is burdened with psychological phrases and words such as "core memory," "non-objective representation," "subconscious" and "long-term memory." In most non-English speaking countries, the popular preference is for action movies like Iron Man precisely because they are light on dialogue.
Once the Disney marketing machine stops flogging it, therefore, I expect the box office grosses to drop sharply for Inside Out. Smart though the movie may be, it doesn't work for kids and won't travel well internationally. Further, it is not a good "date movie"; childless couples will not be much interested unless they are academics.
Random Personal Reactions...
It is unfortunate that the movie includes only five of the seven basic human emotions. Contempt and Surprise were left out.
Joy is the only one of the five emotion characters that I personally empathized with. I think the reason is that Joy was the only one that expressed a range of emotions (automatic value responses). Joy was not only happy, she was sometimes sad and frequently fearful or afraid. Therefore, I cared about her more than the Disgust or Anger characters that were one-note songs.
The third act resolution in which Riley steals her mom's credit card and catches a cross-country bus by herself was not at all credible to me since she is just a child. It seems out of character and makes no sense at all that she would be wandering around by herself in San Francisco, charging a bus ticket on the credit card, etc. The story's resolution feels contrived, too literary, not organic, a big stretch.
The most emotionally affecting moment in the movie, IMO, is when the little girl's childhood imaginary friend, Bing Bong, dies. All children have imaginary friends, and those imaginary friends inevitably die. The fading of our imaginary friends is cause for tears and laughter in the same way that a wedding evokes tears and laughter. You cry because you are no longer a child, even though you are happy to be growing up and becoming independent. Pete Docter made a wise choice when he kept Bing Bong around long enough and charmingly enough to make us care about him as a character. For my money, Bing Bong is also the strongest character design in the film. He is the only one I might be tempted to have on my desk.
Until next month...
Copyright © 2012-2017 Ed Hooks